When you have a little baby coming your way there are many things that need to be prepared before the baby’s arrival. It is always better to get things done before your little one makes an entrance since you will have a lot of things going after the little baby arrives. It is a good idea to prepare a baby registry, as parents to be will have some time to decide on the kind of items that they want for their little one. And there are unlimited items that are available in the market. So it is a good idea to have enough time to do some research on the right items. As not all items you see are actually needed. This is because not all the items that are seen online are needed. Among the items which are important are the baby gym and playmats.
Baby gyms and playmats are one of the must-haves in the baby registry. They play a huge role in a baby’s overall development. Some people say that they can be used immediately after the baby comes home, while some believe that we should wait for a couple of months before placing the baby in the baby gym or play mat. I personally started placing my baby in the baby gym right after her two weeks pediatrician appointment. We were suggested by the pediatrician to start her tummy time, and what better place to do the tummy time than a baby gym? Then we moved on to play mat when she was trying to crawl and move around.
I think that it is one’s personal opinion and decision on when to start using baby gyms and playmats. I watched a YouTube video in which the baby was placed in her gym for tummy time from the second day of her birth. So, I think it is parents’ decision on how and when to start using the baby gym and play mat for their little ones.
Baby gyms and Playmats
Baby gyms are small mats with arches that have sensory-stimulating toys to keep baby busy and entertained. Some come with features like hanging toys, soft and crinkly textures, and high-contrast images which are designed especially for babies. Playmats can come in different sizes and mostly they are made of foam. Some can come in pieces that need to be connected before using, while others can be folded. Baby gyms are mostly used by infants, and they will outgrow them as they start growing. Playmats can be used once a baby tries to be mobile, and they will last longer than baby gyms, as they will be bigger in size as well.
Overall benefits of Baby Gyms and Playmats
Why are these baby gyms and play mats so popular? How do they impact babies? How are they important for babies to achieve their milestones? Baby gyms and play mats have numerous benefits on a baby who is new to this world and ready to explore each and every aspect of this world. Following are some of the benefits of baby gyms and play mats:
- Cognitive Development
- Promotes Self Awareness
- Stimulates Baby’s Senses
- Improves general motor skills
- Helps develop hand and eye coordination
- Promotes independence
- Builds core muscles
- Encourages movement
- Cognitive Development
Baby gyms allow babies to learn the basics of cause and effect. Babies will be encouraged to perform certain actions like grabbing, pulling on, or kicking a toy in order to make it light up or make sounds when they are placed in the baby gym. This skill builds babies’ understanding of cause and effect. Baby gyms provide toys that are hanging in the arches and which produce sounds or light up when contacted. These all help in learning cause and effect and help boost cognitive development. Besides learning cause and effect, babies will also get acquainted with different colors, patterns, textures, sounds, and shapes which help in overall cognitive development,
Babies will eventually start noticing their existence. Some gym mats come with baby-safe mirrors which will help them with this self-awareness. They also help in self-awareness as babies will start staring at their palms and fingers when they try to reach out to the toys placed in the baby gym. Once they start noticing themselves, they can spend a lot of time looking at themselves and have some fun.
Baby gyms and playmats are usually colorful with a variety of textured surfaces. This attracts baby’s attention and keeps them engaged for hours. During this time babies will discover new textures, toys, objects, etc, and play, which helps to stimulate babies’ senses. Babies will enjoy touching varied surfaces, and toys hanging. Most of the baby gyms have music as well as crinkly fabrics which creates sensory stimulation and encourages interaction. These features provide babies with important sensory experiences
- Gross Motor Skills
Gross Motor Skills helps babies to be physically active and control their body. So, the development of gross motor skills is extremely important. Baby gyms and playmats play a major role in improving gross motor skills. Babies will lie on their back, sideways, use their hands and legs, and do lots of tummy time. Babies will have a strong neck, back, and arms over time, and will build their muscles. This will eventually help babies to roll over, crawl, and walk.
- Hand and Eye Coordination
Baby gyms play a major role in encouraging hand-eye coordination. Baby gyms help babies to focus on the toys that are hanging in the arches and bring together both hands at the mid-line of the body. This action will be repeated by babies over and over when placed in the baby gym, which will help in developing fine motor skills.
Baby playmats highly encourage freedom of movement which helps in gaining independence. Playmats will provide babies with enough comfort and space to roll over, kick, scoot, crawl, stand with support and eventually walk. When babies are placed in the play mat, they get confident in making decisions for themselves. It helps in making them independent, which also helps them become confident in the future.
- Building Core Muscles
Most play gyms come with a playmat, which is a safe place for tummy time. They help strengthen babies’ necks, backs, and abdominal muscles and eventually helps with their ability to crawl, roll over and sit up. Babies are placed on their back while they sleep, to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), this forms a flat spot on the baby’s head. Tummy time helps in preventing this flat spot. One of the many added benefits of babies being on their tummies is the strengthening of their muscles in the arches of the hands as they bear weight on them when they try to push up.
Baby gyms and play mats highly encourage movement, which is an important milestone. While baby gyms help babies in rolling over and moving a little, baby play mats help with rolling over, crawling, standing with help, and eventually walking. Also, baby play mats have enough space for babies to move around safely, but of course under supervision.
- Easy to Clean
- Many options to choose from
- Easy to assemble
- Great way to bond with the baby by talking about things present in the baby gym or playmat
- Might also help to keep baby distracted while baby is fussy due to teething
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